18 Nov The Vila Real Football Association (AFR) and the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD) – Bio-banding research by Nuno Leite CIDESD
Nuno Leite, researcher at Cidesd – Center for Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, is part of research on Bio-banding, a partnership between the Football Association of Vila Real (AFR) and the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, with the aim of mitigating the differences associated with maturation in youth football.
AFVR and UTAD together in research on Bio-banding, one of the possible ways to attenuate the differences associated with maturation in youth football.
The Vila Real Football Association (AFR) and the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD) came together to investigate possible solutions that help mitigate the impact of differences associated with maturation in youth football. Thus, on the 1st of November, an activity was held at the UTAD Sports Complex that brought together 110 football children, aged under-13 and under-14, from 5 clubs in the district (Abambres SC, ADCE Diogo Cão, GD Chaves, Mondinense FC and SC Vila Real).
In the weeks preceding this activity, UTAD researchers went to the Clubs to collect anthropometric data, which then allowed them to estimate the maturational age of each of the young people participating in the investigation. On the day of the event, several 20-minute games were played, in which in some the athletes were grouped according to their chronological age and in others according to their biological age. Using GPS and heart rate monitors, UTAD researchers collected a set of data that they will now analyze in order to draw conclusions.
The regional technical director of AFVR, Prof. Carlos Soares, and Prof. Nuno Leite, from CIDESD-UTAD, considered the activity a success, reiterating the commitment of both institutions to contribute to the development of regional and national training football.
Biological maturation, which concerns progress towards adulthood, is very individual in nature. Thus, it is very common for children of the same chronological age to present very different characteristics in terms of maturational timing. This particular aspect has a strong impact on athletic development, in terms of physical performance, but also on the selection and performance of young athletes. Bio-banding consists of grouping athletes based on attributes associated with biological maturation, such as maturational timing, allowing to attenuate the differences associated with maturation, encouraging athletes to use their physical, technical, tactical and psychological attributes and seems to present- as a strategy that can help overcome the challenges presented by individual differences in terms of growth.
Studies carried out specifically in the field of identifying and developing sports talents have confirmed the predominance of athletes with an earlier development in the initial stages of sports preparation. However, as the training process progresses, this tendency undergoes an inversion, and in the more advanced age groups a balance can be observed between athletes with late, normal and early maturation. Thus, and since there are already immense studies that prove the existence of this problem, AFVR and UTAD intend to focus on the study of solutions that help Clubs and their coaches to better understand the difference between the potential and the real value of the young player, to reduce the risk of injury during the moment of greater bone growth, in terms of controlling the training load and in the construction of physical preparation, training and competition tasks.